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$12,000 Cat


STUART, Fla. -- Ron and Bea Garza have lived at the Vista Pines condominium complex for 13 years and they know the rules: No pets allowed.


"She's a beautiful cat," Bea Garza said of her cat, Mitzy. "She's a very loving cat."


Ron Garza got the cat for his 88-year-old wife after she started showing signs of dementia and depression two years ago. Now, they're both paying the price.


The association warned them in 2009 to get rid of the cat because it violated the no pets rule.


Ron and Bea Garza were forced to give up their cat, Mitzy, and now they're paying for it.


"I cried for myself," Ron Garza said. "I cried for both of us. I cried for her because she was here with it all day long."


The Garzas talked to a pro bono attorney and were required to give up the cat by Dec. 10. If they did, the association would waive legal fees and costs.


But Ron Garza said no one told them about the deadline date.


"No phone call. No paperwork. Even people (asked), 'Did you get any mail? Did you get anything in writing?'" he said. "No. I even told the judge, 'I'll take a lie detector's test.'"


The couple was held in contempt of court Wednesday, and now they have to pay $12,000 to cover the association's attorney and court fees.


"(It's) like somebody shot me," Bea Garza said of having to get rid of Mitzy. "It breaks me. But she's a pretty cat. I miss her a lot."


The Garzas said the cat now lives with their son in Hobe Sound.


Man bites patrol car


NEW PORT RICHEY — Handcuffed, drunk and angry, Jesse Ray Stewart expressed his feelings by chewing up a deputy's patrol car — ripping off chunks of vinyl from the seat with his teeth and exposing the stuffing, authorities said. He caused about $300 damage during his ride from New Port Richey to the jail in Land O'Lakes, according to the Pasco Sheriff's Office.


The ordeal began with a resident on Whitetail Lane in New Port Richey finding Stewart, 18, inside his mini-van about 5:30 a.m. Sunday, the sheriff's report said. Stewart fled and was tracked by a pink cell phone in his pocket he had stolen from another car in the neighborhood, the report states. Stewart reeked of alcohol, slurred, stumbled and was generally "uncooperative," authorities said.


He banged his head on the patrol car's windows. The chewed-up and spit-out bits of car seat were collected as evidence, a report states.


Stewart, of New Port Richey, was charged with resisting arrest, criminal mischief and two counts of auto burglary. He is being held at the Pasco County jail in lieu of $10,300 bail.





A Jeffersonville, Indiana man is behind bars charged with burglary after police say he broke into an apartment and stole two snakes.


The crime was caught on camera.


Jason Philpot lives at the Rose Hill Residences in Jeffersonville.


On New Year's Eve, he noticed something was wrong when he came home.


"I don't know how he did it but, that's how broke into the door," said Philpot.


The suspect came inside and Philpot says you can see the big bare spot in his apartment where the aquarium used to be.


His two boa constrictors, named Bonnie and Clyde, were gone.


"That's all I got left of it, flowers and rocks that's all I got left of my snakes," said Philpot.


Floyd Garner lives in the same apartment building as Philpot.


He says the building is generally quiet but, wonders why Philpot had snakes to begin with.


"It's kinda weird we are only allowed fish and birds here," said Garner.


Philpot says he had a pretty good idea of who stole his snakes, so he asked to look at the apartment surveillance video.


"I called the manager and looked on the camera and it was him," said Philpot.


In the video, you can see a man with a gray hoodie trying to get in the building.


"We've had people that try to do that but, we've been told not to let them in," said Garner.


In the video, the man walks into Philpot's apartment hallway.


The suspect walks out shortly with his hands in his front hoodie pocket, that's where police say he may have hidden the snakes.


"You could see the coils of the snake in the shirt," said Philpot.


"He must have been very familiar with snakes," said Garner. "I wouldn't have done that."


Philpot says the only person who knew he had the snakes was his friend 39-year-old Jason Bunnell, who sold him the snakes.


Police later arrested Bunnell that day, and say he admitted to snatching the snakes.


According to court documents, Bunnell sent Philpot a text message saying, "If you don't give me my $25 today we are at war.'


"Mr. Bunnell told police he took the snake because he wanted to teach Mr. Philpot a lesson," said Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull.


Philpot says he paid Bunnell $20 and doesn't understand why his friend would steal his snakes over $5.00.


"People do crazy stuff," said Philpot.


"Now, it's gonna cost him $505 to get out," said Garner.


Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull charged Bunnell with burglary.


Bunnell is expected in court Thursday.


Philpot says he was able to get one his snakes back, but he doesn't know what happened to the other.


Because he isn't allowed to have pets in his apartment, he had to hand it over to his brother.

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Topics : Human Interest
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Locations : FloridaIndianaJeffersonvillePasco CountyStuart
People : Bea GarzaBonnieClydeJason BunnellJason PhilpotJeremy MullJesse Ray StewartNew Port RicheyRon Garza

01/10/2011 6:11AM
Here's What Marko and Jenn Are Talking About!
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